nines_poster.jpg Someone once expressed the opinion that ‘Butterfly Effect’ is comparable in quality to one of my all time favorite films, ‘Donnie Darko’. I disagree and have been waiting for another film to outdo it. Perhaps my hopes were too high for ‘Southland Tales’ and although it is a great film, which I await to see again in better quality, it had failed to capture the same essence of ‘Donnie Darko’. Richard Kelly’s first film will always have a special place in my heart, but I think it may have found a new contender.

‘The Nines’ is sort of like ‘Donnie Darko’ meets ‘The Fountain’ with a modern and quite timely twist. And for those of you who are fans, it’s quite Grant Morrison-esque. Not wanting to spoil the experience too much with my already excessive praise, I must mention that the film also defies genres, leaving the viewer in expectation of what could possibly come next.

This film is executed perfectly! If you like the ideas on this blog then you’ll LOVE this film. Do not read any synopses or reviews… just go out and see the film! Go!

P.S. Look For The Nines (or 23, to each their own)

Update: If the film wasn’t cool enough already…

The director of the hit 2007 movie ‘The Nines’ says he’s been monitoring BitTorrent for its inevitable leak: “Sony, Interpol and the MPAA will do their best,” he says, “but as the guy who made the movie, I honestly want people to see the movie. If the only way you’re going to watch The Nines is illegally, so be it.”

Via Torrent Freak
Download: The Nines Torrent

I remember the very first time I used bittorrent. It was 2004 and I was at a prominent university in the USA, which I quit after a few months.

It wasn’t until reflecting upon Steal This Film that I realized how much the acquisition of copyrighted material influenced my life. This is not just because PC games, films, and music brought me countless hours of entertainment. It’s because the time spent searching for ways to download these forms of media exposed me to new information and more importantly, taught me how to find the information/data I seek. Being able to distinguish between fake sites from real sites, being able to find information pertaining to a computer error, the latest news regarding the pharmacology industry or some esoteric literature- I owe my abilities to the hours I spent searching for the latest warez release of a computer game when I was a teenager.

What does this all mean? To paraphrase Douglas Rushkoff: “The Internet is not a information revolution, it is a communications revolution!”

I have yet to see a documentary that expresses this so well as Steal This Film Pt. 2. The first part of the film is pretty good too, but the second part (produced a year later) is in a league of its own. It includes interviews with top intellectuals and academics from around the world and is a MUST see.
Part 1

Part 2

Happy Holidays! And enjoy your stay on the pale blue dot.

wpf_large.jpgHere’s an article about the Rising Researches panel to be presented at the Basel World Psychedelic Forum in March 2008. The focus is on the resurgence of psychedelic research occurring around the world and the new crop of academic researchers their work. Included is an interview with Tom Roberts who has taught the ‘Foundations of Psychedelic Studies’ course at Northern Illinois University for 25 years.

Can you describe the Rising Researchers as a group? What is the range of topics and disciplines that they cover?

Whooo-eee! They are all over the map. There are 26 accepted proposals, though some have more than one author. In this list I am considering only the first authors – 21 males. There’s a cluster of five Ayahuasca studies; two or more on biological-medical, salvia, drug policy, biology-pharmacology, end-of-life psychotherapy, addiction and misuse, and clinical uses; along with a scattering of other topics from language to law. The research spans many countries, including Canada; the United States; Mexico; Brazil; England; Czech Republic; Finland; and Spain.

Via Teleomorph

chuang-tzu_1.jpg “If a man follows the mind given him and makes it his teacher, then who can be without a teacher? Why must you comprehend the process of change and form your mind on that basis before you can have a teacher? Even an idiot has his teacher. But to fail to abide by this mind and still insist upon your rights and wrongs – this is like saying that you set off for Yueh today and got there yesterday.”

-Chuang Tzu


Stanislav Grof: People who are experientially connected with the transpersonal dimensions have a tendency to appreciate existence and feel reverence for all creation. One of the most remarkable consequences of various forms of transpersonal experience is the spontaneous emergence and development of genuine humanitarian and ecological interests, and the need to take part in activities aimed at peaceful coexistence and well-being of humanity. This is based on an almost cellular understanding that any boundaries in the Cosmos are relative and arbitrary, and that each of us is, in the last analysis, identical and commeasurable with the entire fabric of existence. As a result of these experiences, individuals tend to develop feelings that they are planetary citizens and members of the human family before belonging to a particular country or a specific racial, social, ideological, political, or religious group. It seems obvious that transformation of this kind could significantly increase our chances of survival if it could occur on a sufficiently large scale.

It seems that we are involved in a dramatic race for time which has no parallel in human history. What is at stake is nothing less than the future of humanity and the fate of life on our planet. If we continue using the old strategies that have caused the current global crisis, and which are in their consequences destructive and self-destructive, it might lead to annihilation of modern civilization and possibly even the human species. However, if a sufficient number of people undergoes a process of inner psychospiritual transformation and attain a higher level of awareness, we might in the future reach a situation where we will deserve the name which we have so proudly given to our species: Homo sapiens sapiens.

Read on at Reality Sandwich

This excellent magazine features articles by: Erik Davis, Douglas Rushkoff, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky, Daniel Pinchbeck, The Yes Men, and many more

Bush Protest

Yet another mention of the USA’s proposed missile defense system in the news today. For months the current administration has been seeking to build these bases in Poland and the Czech Republic as a defense against a possible Iranian ballistic strike. Russia has been responding to the USA’s plan with disdain, perceiving the defense systems as being a little too close to home, and has even offered a location in Azerbaijan to take the place of the bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. The USA refused to accept such a compromise.When asked most Czech’s feel conflicted about the proposal and would certainly be much happier if they didn’t have to choose between the power that once occupied their country and the power that is continually encroaching on countries around the globe.

This post isn’t about the missile defense though- at least not in its entirety. On the 4th of June this year a demonstration took place in Prague to protest Bush’s arrival to the Czech Republic and his administration’s plan to build their base. I will tell you about an unprecedented event that occurred on that day, an event that was never reported by the Czech media.

A little background first: On the day Bush arrived in Prague, millions of Czech crowns were spent on security. Most people don’t really consider this but whenever Bush declares a visit a country must prepare hundreds of police officers, anti-terror squads, block of streets and other communications, and so on. On that day the Czechs planned a protest to take place on Venceslav Square. This isn’t just some random location but a place of incredible significance. Here the independent Czechoslovak state was declared in 1918, the occupation of World War II was protested against in 1945, Jan Palach burned himself alive in protest of the Soviet occupation in 1969, and the culmination of the protests which led to the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 also took place here. Since then Venceslav Square has seen countless protests.

But on June 4th 2007, no protest took place at Venceslav Square, even though it was a matter of national importance. On that day, for the first time in Czech history a protest was relocated, banned from taking place at this prominent square in the center of town, it was rescheduled to take place behind the Prague castle, where few people ever go and few would notice. The symbolism of appearing before this traditional meeting place was lost completely. The reason: It was too much of a security risk for president Bush’s visit.

Also lost was the significance of this to the Czech people. Being accustomed to protesting where they like, as seen during the CzechTek protests in front of the interior ministry, this relocation was an unexpected inconvenience, but no one seemed to realize how this marginalized the message of the demonstrators. In the USA it’s a common tactic, we are regulated to our “free speech zones” and are often arrested for not staying on the sidewalk. Any excuse is used to arrest a protester. It’s an absolutely genius method of limiting the power of the people, because no one is prohibiting our freedom to gather or our freedom to protest, we are simply being relocated to a less noticeable and less symbolic spot. It completely undermines the message because the demonstrators are taken out of context, appearing like a random group of hooligans.

Why didn’t the Czech media cover this aspect of the story? Maybe they were too focused on the “anarchists” protesting. Maybe they simply weren’t used to such political tactics. Maybe it wasn’t a intentional maneuver at all, but simply a “security issue”. But one thing is for sure…

This day will never go down in the history books.

How deep does the rabbit hole go? Gnostic Media is proud to present the official online edition of The Pharmacratic Inquisition 2007. If you enjoyed “Zeitgeist – The Movie”, you will love this video; the creators of this video are listed as one of the sources for the Zeitgeist Movie. The Pharmacratic Inquisition 2007 is a video version of the book, “Astrotheology & Shamanism” by Jan Irvin & Andrew Rutajit. The painstakingly detailed and heavily footnoted research in the book comes to life in this video and is now available to you for FREE! For further research of the claims made in this video, please read AstroTheology & Shamanism – this book is available to order as a combo with the DVD.

Thousands of years ago, in the pre monarchic era, sacred plants and other entheogenic substances where politically correct and highly respected for their ability to bring forth the divine, Yahweh, God, The Great Spirit, etc., by the many cultures who used them. Often the entire tribe or community would partake in the entheogenic rites and rituals. These rites were often used in initiation into adulthood, for healing, to help guide the community in the decision process, and to bring the direct religious experience to anyone seeking it.

In the pre literate world, the knowledge of psychedelic sacraments, as well as fertility rites and astronomical knowledge surrounding the sun, stars, and zodiac, known as astrotheology, were anthropomorphized into a character or a deity; consequently, their stories and practices could easily be passed down for generations. Weather changes over millenniums caused environmental changes that altered the available foods and plant sacraments available in the local vicinity. If a tribe lost its shamanic El-der (El – God), all of the tribe’s knowledge of their plant sacraments as well as astronomical knowledge would be lost. The Church’s inquisitions extracted this sacred knowledge from the local Shamans who were then exterminated…It is time to recognize the fact that this Pharmacratic Inquisition is still intact and destroy it. 

Rushkoff speaks on Nothing Sacred, Get Back in the Box, the newest issue of his DC/Vertigo comic Testament Vol. 2: West of Eden as well as a work in progress about corporatism. Taped on February 28, 2007 at the Astor Place Barnes and Noble, New York City.

Rushkoff graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University. He moved to Los Angeles and pursued a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from California Institute of the Arts. Later he took up a post-graduate fellowship from the American Film Institute.

Today, he teaches media theory at New York University’s (NYU) Interactive Telecommunications Program. Rushkoff is known for being an active member of the cyberpunk movement and was the online associate of Timothy Leary. His views on cyberculture and the media made him a sought after advisor and consultant with many organizations and companies, including the United Nations Commission on World Culture and the Sony corporation.

Though an advocate for new technologies, his views lean towards an open source use of technology, making him a founding member of Technorealism. This extends to his broader philosophy as the founder of an online community for discussion of Judaism and related issues, called Open Source Judaism. In the book Media Virus, he expounds on various terms such as meta-media and tactical media especially in relation to popular culture media such as television.

WorldviewI’m currently working on a project and stumbled upon a bit of information I find fascinating.

Terror Management Theory attempts to describe a significant motivator behind human action. It arouse from various academic traditions but is mostly familiar to students of social psychology. The basic thesis is that as humans our primary biological imperative, aside from passing on our genetic material, is to stay alive. And as everyone knows, there are countless unforeseen circumstances in which our existence can come to an abrupt end. It is precisely this which most likely differentiates us from other animals, our awareness of our impending death. I say “most likely differentiates us from other animals” because this has not been entirely proven true. What can be confirmed experientially however, is the overwhelming anxiety generated from this awareness of death.

Otto Rank, Norman Brown, and Ernst Becker posited that humans, ingeniously but unconsciously solved this dilemma by developing cultural world views: “commonly held beliefs about reality that serve to reduce the potentially overwhelming terror resulting from the awareness of death”. All cultures provide meaning by offering a creation myth, a blue print for acceptable behavior on earth, and a promise of immortality either symbolically or literally. Individuals thus become participants in a world of meaning and gain emotional stability in the face of death.

As readers of this blog may know: “All cultural world views are ultimately shared fictions, in the sense that none of them is likely to be literally true, and their existence is generally sustained by social consensus. When everyone around us believes the same thing we can be confident of the voracity of our beliefs”. Good old social proof.

This may not be entirely news for many but the following was certainly something I somewhat knew but never considered in its entirety. “When we encounter people with different beliefs, this poses a challenge to our death-denying belief system, which is why people are generally quite uncomfortable around (and hostile toward) those who are different.” Religious and political conflicts may be much more than disagreements on how one should live their life and more a coping mechanism for death anxiety. Suddenly the state of the world gains a whole new dimension.

“Additionally, because no symbolic cultural construction can actually overcome the physical reality of death, residual anxiety is unconsciously projected unto such groups as individuals, designating them as scapegoats: all encompassing repositories of evil, the eradication of which would make earth as it is in heaven. We therefore typically respond to people with different beliefs by berating them, trying to convert them to our system of beliefs, or just killing them and in so doing asserting that “my God (or political-economic system) is better than ours and we’ll kick your ass to prove it.”

Quotations from Psychology and Consumer Culture

A fascinating existential film from 1969 by Jim Henson and an obvious inspiration for the later Cube movies.

Learn how to confuse the fuck out of everyone.

-The Monochromatic Knight

Journalist and recipient of the 2006 Lifetime Emmy, Bill Moyers returns to PBS with this fantastic interview of Jon Stewart. The following video offers another glimpse into the mind of Jon Stewart, which contrary to popular belief isn’t always comedic. His views on how the Bush administration works are particularly insightful.

AlteratiSeems like everyday a new website appears which shares similar lines of thought as our own.

Today I present you with an article from Alterati. In it Brian Corra presents the reader with the mind altering nature of the Internet, the potential impact of role adaptation techniques, and the logical synthesis of the two- Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games.

“Many people these days now go inside to go outside.”

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